The Top Ten Ways that Parents Provoke their Children to Wrath
Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21
10. An expectation for them to already know and act upon what you've never trained them for.
Does your child really even know how to do what you are expecting them to do well? Do they know how to do this because you told them or showed them? Do they fully understand your expectations? Are you and your spouse on the same page in y our expectations or does your child have one set of expectations from you and another from the other parent that are causing difficulty for your child to consistently follow through with? (how to clean, act, behave, manners)
9. Demanding the unreasonable or un-accomplishable, and punishing for failure to complete it.
Is the time limit something you could do because you're bigger or stronger or more knowledgeable? Is it based on the accurate maturity level of your child? Are you stretching them in order to grow them or are you stretching them because you think they failed you in some way?
When you were their age, could you do what you're asking for? Why could you if you could? Is it possible that your skill set and your child's simply differ? (Construction versus Greek versus Ball)
8. Placing the weight of the your reputation upon the perfection of your child.
Are you somehow worried that others will think less of you if your child misbehaves, breaks something, throws a temper tantrum etc? Are you expecting pedestal performances from your children for your reputation's sake, in order to better yourself, or because you are genuinely concerned about your child learning right and wrong? A litmus test for this is to ask yourself how you reward your children for doing well or doing right, and when do you reward them?
7. Attempting to repair or relive your imperfect life's past through the present and future life of your child.
Are you afraid your children are going to re-live your mistakes or sins? Are you parenting out of fear of that possibility? If your motivation for teaching them and training them about life is merely to keep them from a certain kind of mistake or lifestyle you once lived, you have an incredible likelihood of merely driving them right to it. Instead, focus on you and your child drawing closer and closer in intimacy with Jesus Christ, and watch Him bring about a different life than you lived before you were walking rightly with Him. Again, it was the Law you broke that led you to the Grace you took.
6. Creating an atmosphere in the home that completely lacks attention to discipline, respect, or responsibility.
Do you think that letting your child figure out for themselves what is right and what is wrong bears any resemblance to God's pattern of parenting? Where there is no vision, the people perish and a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Children will find someone to follow. If you do not lead them, someone else eventually will. Your training in the home is training for not merely making a living some day, but training on how to parent their own families one day.
5. Creating an atmosphere in the home that is focused only on attention to discipline, respect, and/or responsibility as a means approval or affection.
Is there laughter in your home? Scripture calls laughter a good medicine. Do you have such a focus on your child's future that you are destroying their present? Are you willing for your child to have different gifts and talents than those you have chosen for them to be skilled or trained in currently? Are you picking the routine for your child and plotting such a rigid course that you have left no room for love? Are you teaching a discipline that leaves no room for devotion? Does your parenting style in this matter reflect your view of God?
4. The setting of your child in harm's way, danger, or in risk of personal embarrassment for your own benefit, protection, or pleasure.
Do you find it funny to make fun of your child's flaws or weaknesses in front of your friends or other family members? Are you treating your child as you would want to be treated or are you just treating your child the way in which you were treated at their age?
Are you somehow making up for your inadequacies by pointing out the struggles and blunders or mistakes or flaws of who you are responsible to rear?
Are you getting ahead in your finances, your politics or your social ladder at the cost of your child's needs, which are not more of those things, but more of you?
3. When you set standards for your child to follow in your home that you are not willing to live by or teach by example.
Are you spiritually consistent? Does everyone you know, know you by the same set of standards?
Are you telling your children to go to Sunday School or to participate in Spiritual things when you aren't willing to yourself? Do you tell your children that they need to leave the room so you can watch something on television thus excluding them from your life for the sake of your entertainment? Do you tell them not to do the very things you hope they don't see you doing or vice versa? Do you tell them to be respectful while you speak badly of your bosses or other leaders? Do you want them to get closer and closer to Christ while you set no pattern in your personal life for them to follow? Do you expect them to spend time with you on your projects but never help them with theirs?
2. When your child is consistently witness to immorality and/or destructive behaviors
Do you yell in your home? This is destructive. Do you threaten violence or raise your hand as if you're going to hit? This is provoking your children to wrath.
The number one addiction in America right now is pornography. Are you watching, reading or downloading it? You are provoking your children to wrath. Are you destroying your body through an addiction of some other kind? You are provoking your children to wrath. Children cannot explain in the vocabulary you and I have the complex emotions of their world that are intensified by the senseless things that some parents do to slowly destroy their marriages and themselves. Do you find yourself thinking that someday they'll just get over it? Do you think that your children will just forget what they are hearing and seeing? You are leaving a footprint upon the very soul of your child or teenager in all that you do and say.
1. When the trust relationship between you and your child is broken in order to satisfy a want or desire in your life, good or bad.
Are you making promises to your family that you don't keep? Are you a liar to your child? How far can your child trust you with what is most precious to them in their lives right now?
Have you broken the trust relationship with your son or daughter in physical ways? Fathers, do you enter your daughter's room without asking? Are you establishing trust in the home that leaves no room for doubt that you would never say or do anything to bring you personal satisfaction at the expense of your child's trust in you? Are you creating a trust issue in your child that will extend into their understanding of faith in God? The worst possible breach of trust is the molestation of a child.
0. There's one more number left in our countdown, and that's the number zero. I want to zero in on one more area where parents, in our society today, have produced rebellion in the lives of their children, and that is the area of Spiritual Apathy.
I believe, having worked with young people off and on since teaching junior high students in a private school in 1993, that the greatest area of downfall in the homes of America, is apathy towards Christ in the home. I believe it is the greatest hypocrisy, the greatest rebellion and the greatest cause of provocation in the lives of children that there is today.
Scripture says in Pro 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish" and in
Psalm 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it."
The King James states Col 3:21 like this: "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
Combine these ideas with what Romans Chapter one says is true about all of us... That God not only made Himself evident to us but put the knowledge of Himself within us...and then the passages in Scripture we read last week out of the Gospels on Christ's view of children being led to come Himself and how Jesus spoke indignantly with his disciples when they forbade the children from His arms, and I see a huge picture unfolding....the angriest and most defensive and most unloving and most rebellious of students I have ever dealt with have been those whose homes have been pervaded by the influence of "no God but self", and the homes of those students whose parents feigned an allegiance to Christ but had no fruit in themselves, who spoke of right and wrong but suppressed the knowledge of God in unrighteousness within their home.
The parent who, by their own example, keeps their child away from the heart of Christ, is the parent with whom Christ is most indignant!
In an article called "A Challenge for Fathers" By: J. Hampton Keathley, III, who is now with the Lord, but was once a Dallas Theological Seminary professor, Keathley writes on Psalm 78:1-8, and I love what he says about this topic we're on today. He writes: "Scripture and history show us that as goes the home, so goes the society. And generally speaking-as go the fathers, so goes the home. The moral and spiritual condition of the society is always the offspring of the family.
William Wordsworth wrote, "The child is father of the man," meaning the experiences which occur in the early and formative years of a child's life, the experiences of home, shape the character and behavior of tomorrow's adult. And as that is true of the individual, so it becomes true of an entire society including, of course, its leadership. Note the emphasis of this Psalm:
Psalm 127:1-2 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
You've probably heard people say: "My wife and I have agreed that we don't want to force our religion on the children. We want them to be free to make up their own minds about matters as important as that." This may sound wise or sophisticated, but it is sheer nonsense! There can be no religious neutrality in a home because neutrality about God is itself a form of religion-an anti-God religion. If neutrality is the attitude of parents it will become the religion of their children. Most thoughtful people see the stupidity of bringing up children with an "open mind" about things like school, but fail to apply the same saneness of thought to knowing God.
Most thoughtful parents, by contrast, want their children to know about God and moral living. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of life, they never get a chance to take stock of where such training will come from. They think if they send them to Sunday School that will do it, but that involves only one hour out of 168 hours in a week. But there is a place that has a great deal more impact than any other in society due to the dynamics involve-if those dynamics are utilized. Where is that place? It's the home-the place where life makes up its mind.